After 25 years at Whitworth, previous Vice President of Student life Dr. Richard Mandeville resigns, leaving students questioning the rapid changes occurring in the student life department.
This past year there have been a multitude of changes in Student Life including the creation of new positions and the resignation of Dick Mandeville whose position is now filled by Rhosetta Rhodes.
“I resigned. It was my choice to do that. I’d been contemplating it for some time. It may become retirement or it may be the first retirements of several.” Mandeville said, he plans on completing his bucket list after he officially leaves Whitworth on Sept. 30.
Mandeville wanted to be sure that he stayed focused on my job through Sept. 29, his last day at the university.
Students are questioning why there have been new hires and positions in the Student Life department.
“I think last year was a pretty tough year on this campus in general. I’m not necessarily sure why, but a lot of sexual assaults happened,” senior Naji Saker and student life worker said when asked about the changes in student life.
“Nobody really imagines that anything bad would happen at Whitworth,” Saker said. “I think that puts a lot of stress under the position here in [resident] life, but they’re handling it really well this year. The environment in student life has been phenomenal.”
While the university is sad to see such a wonderful faculty member depart, students, staff and faculty are thankful for his legacy.
“Those who knew Dr. Mandeville are sad to see him leave, but also have high hopes for the future of student life,” Rhosetta Rhodes, interim Vice President of Student Life said. The Student Life department is better because of Mandeville’s presence, Rhodes said.
The Student Life department with Dr. Mandeville accomplished the creation of three new residence halls Boppell, Duvall and Oliver, hiring and training 40 Resident Directors and helping create great collaborative working relationships with faculty.
“One of the things I feel very good about is our student leadership program in the residence halls. I think that it reflects the values of the institution well and it also adds a focus on the mission of the institution,” Mandeville said. “We are trying to develop wellness programs at a high level and are consistent and presented around campus.”
“No one can speak or translate student life to the general campus community better than Dick,” Rhodes said. “He knew student development and his practice resulted from his knowledge of student development. He made friends out of students, faculty and staff. He will be missed.”
“I think it’s bitter sweet. Knowing him, this is a good decision for him. I think that everybody gets to the point where they need to retire,” Saker said.
Saker said that Mandeville was an important mentor and good friend to him throughout his time at Whitworth.
“I’m sad to see him leave but happy to see him go because I know he’s going to be doing other stuff and probably get to spend more time with his family after being here for 25 years,” Saker said.
He will miss watching students grow through a leadership opportunity and through healthy relationships fostered in our residence halls, Mandeville said.
“When I interviewed here, I met with a small group of students and I remembered thinking if these are the kinds of students that this place attracts, this is going to be a great place to be, and it has been,” Mandeville said. “Our students are remarkable and talented and I think that we’ve done a great job of creating a place for them to grow into their best selves. It has been exciting work.”
While sad to see Mandeville depart, Saker is reassured by the interim vice president who stepped into office Aug. 1.
“It’s hard to see him leave, but I think that Rosetta is doing a wonderful job,” Saker said. “She is so intelligent and it’s cool to have her up here [in student life].”
“We have new staff members, which will result in different activities and different projects from those Dr. Mandeville started,” Rhodes said.
“We are looking at an anti-alcohol consumption campaign. Although alcohol doesn’t commit assault, we recognize that it is used by some perpetrators to control their victim and render them helpless. It is one of many tools that perpetrators use,” Rhodes said.
While the Student Life department had a difficult time last year, they look forward to the new semester under Rhosetta Rhodes as Vice President of Student Life and Dean of Students and wish Dick Mandeville the best in his new endeavors.
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